HOA rights on tenant misconduct are extensive,and if tenants fail to address water damage and other issues, the costs can be passed down to the owner after it is addressed. The same is true regarding HOA rights on tenant misconduct in Arizona—if any occupant of a property intentionally causes damage, that also passes down to the owner of the unit. While these are statutorily guaranteed, there are ways to enhance enforcement methods in your HOA agreements and resolutions. Here are four approaches to tenant misconduct and negligence that can help you recoup damages:
Require insurance: Property is much more likely to be fixed regularly if it carries insurance. While proving insurance after a disaster is often commonplace, there is no harm for keeping insurance certificates on file each year after policies renew. This way, you have the information handy and the tenant has one lessthing to worry about while dealing with complications. If the tenant rents outtheir unit, recommend that residents also carry renter’s insurance. While the tenant’s homeowners insurance covers structural damage,it will not cover a renter’s personal property.
Make terms clear: Agreements and resolutions should all clearly state that damageto common elements that arisesfrom a homeowner’s negligence or misconduct is their responsibility. If the HOA must pay these costs due to absentee owners, the owner still owes the debt. Include all possible expenses, even attorney fees. That often discourages neglect and encourages homeowners to carry insurance, especially if they rent to tenants.
Be proactive: Depending on the damage that concerns the HOA, regular inspections are a reasonable proactive approach to avoiding serious damage to units. For example, it is winter, and pipes could freeze. If a unit is unoccupied for over seven days, indicate that there will be an inspection to ensure everything remains in good condition. You can also require that the owner shut the water off to the unit if they or their renters are gone that long. However, that could be impossible if there are pets living in the unit, so inspections are often a better way of ensuring any water leaks are caught before they become destructive.
Do not overestimate common sense: It may seem obvious that residents should not pour grease down drains (which can lead to sewage backups) and ensure that doors and windows do not allow the elements to get into units. However, not everyone has excellent house maintenance skills. Place specific duties like these in your agreements, including a requirement to notify the HOA if there are any leaks, floods or other seriously damaging elements occurring in the unit. Also, as the holidays are approaching and people will be going on vacation, require every owner to give the HOA the telephone number of a local emergency contact.
Your HOA can enforce its rights and maintain the quality of its community through good communication and skilled legal experience. Goodman Holmgren Law Group is here to help when HOA rightson tenant negligence in Arizona must be enforced. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.